1 of 5 | Wladimir Klitschko celebrates after defeating Bryant Jennings for the World Heavyweight Championship in 12 rounds at Madison Square Garden in New York City on April 25, 2015. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Wladimir Klitschko, one of the longest reigning heavyweight champions in boxing history, announced his retirement on Thursday.
Klitschko ended his 21-year professional career over three months after his final bout on April 29, which marked his 29th heavyweight title fight. The 41-year-old Ukrainian sustained his second consecutive defeat as his bout against England's Anthony Joshua was stopped in the 11th round at Wembley Stadium.
Prior to that bout, Klitschko lost the unified world championship that he held for nearly a decade with an upset at the hands of Tyson Fury. Klitschko's nine-year, seven-month, seven-day reign was the second longest in heavyweight title history behind only Joe Louis, who held the title for 11 years, eight months and eight days.
"As an amateur and a professional boxer, I have achieved everything I dreamed of, and now I want to start my second career after sports," Klitschko said in a statement provided by his management.
Klitschko (64-5, 54 KOs) reportedly had been mulling a rematch with Joshua on Nov. 11 in Las Vegas before making his announcement on Thursday.
Klitschko followed his older brother Vitali into boxing after winning Olympic gold in Atlanta. Both found immediate success in the ring, and held all of the main heavyweight titles between them when Vitali Klitschko retired in 2013.
The brothers never fought each other, saying that would break a promise to their mother.
Wladimir Klitschko will spend his retirement with longtime fiancee and Hollywood actress Hayden Panettiere.